Dispatches from Outland
A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants. Copyright © 2003 Roy M. Jacobsen.


Friday, August 09, 2002  

Clearly Silly Department: If you've ever wanted to learn the truth about Scientology, then don't read this list. However, if you know a bit about Scientology and its adherents and want a few laughs at their expense, then this might be just what you're looking for. Courtesy of The Door, it's The 12 Least-Known Teachings of Scientology!

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 4:29 PM
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Annie Get Your Gun Department: John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, says ". . . the U.S. Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey has shown for decades that resistance with a gun is by far the safest course of action when one is confronted by a criminal. The probability of serious injury from a criminal confrontation is 2.5 times greater for women offering no resistance than resisting with a gun."

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 3:32 PM
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What's Wrong With This Picture Department: Screenwriter Joe Eszterhaus has penned a screed about "Hollywood's Responsibility for Smoking Deaths". I see two problems here:

1. When is Joe going to say anything about Hollywood's responsibility for promiscuous sex, or violence? If, as you say, "showing larger-than-life movie stars smoking onscreen is glamorizing smoking", then can't the same be said about showing larger-than-life movie stars engaging in promiscuous pre- and extra-marital sex, or acting out hyper-violent scenarios? Doesn't Hollywood glamorize sex and violence in the same way it glamorizes tobacco?

2. Perhaps bigger than that issue, but more subtle, was this line from the Eszterhas screed:

"...I have made a deal with God. Spare me, I said, and I will try to stop others from committing the same crimes I did."

Eszterhas was diagnosed with throat cancer 18 months ago. Yeah, something like that is one hell of a wake-up call. I wish Joe all the best in his recovery from surgery and treatment. But that bit about making a deal with God troubles me deeply. It seems to give the whole thing a cynical tinge: "I'm not doing this because it's the right thing to do, whether I live or die. I'm doing this because I'm trying to get leverage with God."

Maybe I'm the cynical one here. But I see this kind of stuff all too often, in various forms. "Health and wealth" preaching, and whatnot. People look for the formula, the ritual, the incantation, whatever it takes to influence God. And it seems to me that God is after relationship.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 1:37 PM
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Thursday, August 08, 2002  

JesusJournal.com is also creating a list of blogs by Christians. As far as I can see, their listing isn't categorized as is the one at Blogs4God, but hey, the more, the merrier.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 11:09 AM
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Oldies But Goodies Department: A friend reminded me of this story...

The Calling Card
A new pastor came to town and was canvassing the neighborhood. All went well until he came to one house. It seemed that someone was home--the lights were on, and he heard noise inside--but no one came to the door even after he had knocked several times. Finally, he took out his card, wrote on the back "Revelation 3:20" and stuck it in the door.

The next day after service, as he was counting the offering he found his card in the collection plate. Below his message was a notation "Genesis 3:10." Upon opening his Bible to the passage, his face turned red, and he let out a roar of laughter.

Revelation 3:20 -- "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me."
Genesis 3:10 -- "And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked."

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:45 AM
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Terra Incognita Department: What is Outland? Where is it?

The tag at the top of this weblog says that Outland is more than a place, it’s a state of mind. For believers and followers of Jesus, Outland is here and now. Outland is this world we live in. We are not natives; we are aliens and strangers. We are passing through, on our way to our home. We hope for and long for another place, a place we have not yet seen.

Some of us live as ambassadors, some as spies. Some of us live in relative comfort, welcomed or at least tolerated by the people of this world, and have gained power and wealth. Others of us face less pleasant things: jeering, imprisonment, beatings and death. Some of us have wandered destitute, pursued by our enemies, and at times, killed by those who hate us and the kingdom and king we represent.

For now, we live here like strangers in a foreign country, dwelling in tents. We are looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. For more information, go read Hebrews 11.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 7:13 AM
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Wednesday, August 07, 2002  

North End Of The Southbound Horses Of The Apocalypse Department: Make the scary people go away, mommy!

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 4:57 PM
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Linkin' bLogs Department: Another one to keep an eye on is Cella's Review. So many blogs, so little time.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 3:08 PM
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Many bloggers have already noted the vile chats that have been going on at a website for Islamic youth. James Lileks has one of the better pieces on this, IMO. A reader at Instapundit notes:

The comparison for me to the Clearguidance.com chat room would be the various white supremacist web pages and chats (who are often equally convinced that God is on their side). The comparison between White Supremacists and Islamic Fanatics is perfectly apropos...

While this is true, it seems to miss an important point. Yeah, there are plenty of wackjobs in the US (white supremacist, KKK, Aryan Nations, etc.) who spew the same kind of bile "in the name of God". But the point Lileks was making was that the domestic wackjobs that do this are on the fringe, and are recognized and denounced by the majority as fringe wackjobs. Can we say that's the same case with Clearguidance? Is this stuff recognized and denounced by "mainstream Islam" (if such a thing exists)?

Redaction Update: I was typing hastily, and what I meant to say in the previous paragraph was this: But the point Lileks was making was that you don't find that kind of bile in mainstream Christianity; the domestic wackjobs that do this are on the fringe, and are recognized and denounced by the majority as fringe wackjobs.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 1:32 PM
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Tuesday, August 06, 2002  

Two Can Play That Game Department: Tony Woodlief shares some wonderful stories about his 2-year-old son, Caleb at Sand In The Gears. Just to show that I'm not above imitation, I'll post my semi-canonical list of Jenniferisms. (And truth be told, it isn't imitation, because I originally posted these on my family's website a couple of years ago.)

When she was just learning the language, my daughter Jennifer had a marvelous ability to say some really odd things. She would get things close, but not quite right, and the results could be funny, puzzling, and profound (not necessarily in that order). We labelled these utterances "Jenniferisms."

(Talking about her friend Conner)
"We're attractive to each other."

(Complaining about a cold)
"I sound like Darth Vader!"

(Pointing the TV remote at Patricia)
"I ’mote you into the ’puter!"

(Commenting on her mood)
"I’m feeling round-hearted."

"I feel down in the dumpster."

Me: "Jennifer, eat your hot dog."
Jennifer: "I’m full of it."

(Arguing with Mommy about whether bears wear clothes)
"Bears wear panties...BIG panties."

(On dried bananas)
"I like ‘em better wet."

"I’m freezing! Turn on the heaver!"

Patricia: "Who said you could be boss?"
Jennifer: "Somebody put a quarter in me and said I could be boss."

"I’ve got a spoon and I’m not allowed to use it!"

(Talking about being baptized)
"I don’t want to be hypnotized! "

(Reciting a Bible verse)
"...the only forgotten Son of God..."

(While drinking a milk-shake)
"I’ve got a popsicle-ache!"

(Trying to get her head through the tight collar of a sweater)
"My head! My head! My big fat stupid head!"

(Noticing my jeans were getting a bit baggy)
"Daddy, your pants are getting too thin."

(After "dunking" some dirty clothes into the hamper)
"There! I did a damn-funk!"

(Asking how to pause a video using the remote)
"Which one of these do you push when you have to go to the bathroom?"

(Patricia was making a sign)
Jennifer: "What does that say?"
Patricia: "Keep out."
Jennifer: "Keep out what?"

"Monsters come out of used band-aids, and they go and hide in the basement until it's dark."

(Looking for something and finding it in a corner)
"I guess it had a time-out."

(While holding a deck of Go Fish cards)
"How about a quick game of round-off solitaire?"
(The game turned out to be suspiciously like Go Fish.)

I have to add this one from my daughter, Patricia. She doesn't have quite the same way with words as Jennifer (that is, she doesn't blurt out as much silly stuff), but she has her moments. One day, we were discussing putting new siding on our house, and Jennifer asked what siding was. I told her that it's what they put on the side of houses, on the outside. Patricia thought about that for a minute, then said,
"Do they put it on the front and the back, too?"

(Intending to say "I shouldn’t be doing this")
"I should ben’t doing this."

My son Nick also has had a few gems:
"Mommy won the door-knob prize."

(Talking about the temperature)
"I'm freezing to the death!"

(Observing some wilted flowers)
"They need a drink to cheer them up."

(Trying to change clothes)
"These pants won’t get off!"

(Playing with some knight toys)
"Off with his beard!"

We recently purchased a rock tumbler. Nick calls it a "rock stumbler."

(While watching the end of The Sound of Music)
"I wish those Nutzis would go away!"

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:52 AM
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Inigo Montoya Department: I was so happy to learn that one of the lines that I loved most in the book The Princess Bride survived the transition to the movie. (In fact, TPB is one of the few books that survived the transition pretty much intact.) Inigo Montoya, after hearing Vizinni say "Inconceivable!" for the umpteenth time, responds, "You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means."

In the same way, when the "freedom from religion" crowd keep chanting the mantra "wall of separation," it doesn't mean what they think it means, as Larry Witham explains.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:02 AM
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Monday, August 05, 2002  

We'll All Be Wearing Our Baggies Department:Ben Domenech has a wonderfully thoughtful essay about Pilate on the beach.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 10:18 AM
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